The Squad Canvas is a team-building activity similarly structured like a Business Model. It is an effective strategy to facilitate getting teams to come together in agreement or alliance about their goals, values, and purposes, as well as help team members, find their role on the team.
- My Squad Canvas is a strategic framework that aids in bringing team members on the same page. It is made to unite teams, increase cohesion and performance and create a productive team culture, effectively. My Squad Canvas works across multiple focal points such as:
- building a team;
- shed light on goals and addressing overall team performance (e.g. when you feel stuck as a team, or when you need to get a lot of stuff done);
- growing and integrating new team members;
- general alignment sessions (recommended every 2-3 months).
- Squad Canvas (see attached) recreated on a whiteboard, or on a big enough piece of paper (e.g. flipchart paper or A0/A1)
- Blocks of sticky notes, one for each participant, different colors
- Sharpies or pens
Step By Step Procedures
Introduce the squad canvas as a tool to align the team members and get better at understanding the goals, roles, and values of your team.
Go through each step with the team, making sure you ask the questions for each segment. Encourage people to write their answers on sticky notes and talk about them with the team. There are fields that all teams should agree on i.e 1. People and Roles; 2. Goals; 4. Purpose; 5. Values; 9. Rules and culture. The rest of the fields can be filled individually, with no particular need to be agreed upon.
- People & Roles
Ask people to put their names on sticky notes, as well as their roles. If a person has multiple roles, use separate notes.
- What are your names?
- What are the roles you have on the team?
- What are you called as a team?
- Maddison: COO;
- Carol : Design & Programming
- Name of the team: BoldCar
- Common goals
Ask the team to agree on common goals.
- What do you as a group really want to achieve? What is our key goal that is feasible, measurable and time-bounded?
- Become the leading car-sharing company in our region by 2022.
- Create a top company in the continent of the Internet of Things by the end of the year.
- Personal goals
Ask the team members about the individual goals they have for the project.
- What are your individual personal goals for this project?
- Are there personal agendas that you want to open up?
- Become more confident at app development [Carol]
Ask the team to go one step further towards their common goal, and ask them why they do what they do.
- Why are you doing what we are doing in the first place?
- What is more important, which makes you pursue your common goal?
- Create a positive impact on people’s lives through social innovation
- Make people’s lives easier and stress-free through the internet of things innovation
Ask the team what are the core values – the most crucial principles – that they want to share within the team. The team should agree on these values, so everyone accepts the final set.
- What do you stand for?
- What are your guiding principles?
- What are the common values that you want to be at the core of your team?
- Mutual understanding
- Strengths & Assets
Ask the team to share the key pieces of skills (both hard skills and soft skills) and assets available within the team. Don’t dismiss any ‘insignificant’ stuff. You might find that the team has the capacity for drawing, athletics or negotiation skills. Encourage people to share something about themselves, as well as note the important qualities they see in their teammates.
- What are the skills you have in the team that will help in achieving your goals?
- What are the interpersonal/soft skills that you have?
- What are you good at, individually and as a team?
- Being devoted and driven
- Being visionary
- Sales & pitching
- Weaknesses & Development Areas
Ask the team to share the key weaknesses and areas for improvement that they see in themselves, as well as the obstacles they face as a team. Make an accent on reporting what people can find in themselves, rather than discussing other’s weaknesses.
- What are the weaknesses you have, individually and as a team?
- What your teammates should know about you?
- What are some obstacles you see ahead of that you are likely to face?
- Easily distracted [Carol]
- Can be arrogant [Maddison]
- Lack of structured communication [general]
- Needs & Expectations
Ask the team to express the needs they have in order to be successful. Think of this as a follow up to the previous two sections: once team members expressed their strengths and weaknesses, they should be able to express the needs they have to amplify strengths and be at their best despite the weaknesses.
- What does each member of the team need to be successful?
- How could the team help each member with their needs?
- Some «me time»
- More clear weekly status updates
- Help and coaching
- 9. Rules & Activities
Ask the team to agree on common rules and activities. Think of this as of outcome of the previous sections: a concrete set of rules and activities they want to implement.
- What are the rules you want to introduce after doing this session?
- How do you communicate and keep everyone up to date?
- How do you make decisions?
- How do you execute and evaluate your work?
- Keeping things within-group confidential
- Weekly status updates
- Communication over Slack + Skype for calls
- Dinners together every second week (Carol as a planner)
- Workday: starting from 9 to 10, meetings start at 10
- Keeping workday to 8 hours, except when it’s needed to shorten it a bit towards more
- Wrap up
As you close My Squad Canvas workshop, ask the team members to share about one single most important insight that they gained during the workshop.
Tips for running this activity online
- Pick an online whiteboard tool that allows the use of a large, zoomable canvas.
- Set up each topic at a different area of the board, spread them out just like you would do it on the walls of a room.
- Invite participants to zoom in and visit each section and add their ideas.
- If you’re not using an online whiteboard, we’d recommend using a collaboration tool such as Google Docs to collect the information for each step under a separate heading. Invite everyone into the same document but be very clear in regards to editing rights.
- When facilitating group discussion, we’d recommend that participants use non-verbal means to indicate they’d like to speak. You can use tools like Zoom’s nonverbal feedback tools or just have people put their hands up. The facilitator can then invite that person to talk.